Montana family feels 'violated' after Trump 2020 flags burnt right outside home as young children slept inside
THREE FORKS, MONTANA: A Montana family say they've been scarred after the Trump campaign flag that they put up outside their home was taken down and burned in the middle of the night as their four young children slept inside.
The incident unfolded in the early hours of August 24 at the home of Julia and Robert O'Rourke in Three Forks, a town of around 2,000 people located 30 miles northwest of Bozeman, Montana, according to local outlet MTN News.
The couple said they had bought the flags to show their support for President Donald Trump's re-election campaign earlier in the day knowing that it wasn't a popular choice but that they were still shocked when they woke up the next morning to find them gone and a pile of ashes in their front lawn in its place. "It's insane. None of us knew! We woke up to a charred pile of the flag in our yard, and had no idea," Julia said of the incident, before adding that she was still worried about how the fire could have set their home ablaze.
"I felt violated, I felt that my kids’ and my life and my husband’s life were in danger. It could have easily burned my house down. There was a fire ban and as close as it was to the house, it was very eerie," she said.
The home that the family lives in was reportedly built in 1907, more than a hundred years ago, and has never been renovated. Julia said she believes that if the fire had spread to the house, they would likely have never found out until it was too late.
Wanting to catch the culprit, the family reviewed footage from their security camera and saw a man stumbling onto their property at night before ripping down the flags and starting the fire. The man then retreats back to the street and disappears.
The footage was turned over to the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department, who identified the man as Eric Herrera. Herrera was subsequently arrested and has been charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief in connection to the incident, Sheriff Brian Gootkin confirmed.
The incident caught the attention of the Montana Republican Party, who tweeted condemning Herrera's actions. "This Montana family had their #Trump2020 flags burned in their yard as their children slept," they wrote. "The liberal mob isn't just in cities across the country, it's right here in Montana and it's threatening the safety of freedom-loving Montanans."
This Montana family had their #Trump2020 flags burned in their yard as their children slept.— Montana Republican Party (@MTGOP) August 28, 2020
The liberal mob isn't just in cities across the country, it's right here in Montana and it's threatening the safety of freedom-loving Montanans. #mtpol #mtnews pic.twitter.com/4dXr5pqyPt
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported on a similar case where an elderly man had been attacked for wearing Trump's signature red 'Make America Great Again' hat. Matthias Ajple, 43, had spit on 67-year-old Robert Youngblood for sporting the hat at a restaurant in the city of Vero Beach in October 2019. Ajple is said to have first walked over to Youngblood, who was sitting with two of his friends, and told him to "go back to Russia, you f****** communist." He then hit the brill of his hat, leaned over a gate, and spat on him before leaving the premises. The 43-year-old was eventually arrested and sentenced to 90 days in jail over the incident.